Top pub din­ing at Kirk’s Wine Bar.

With ex­cep­tional brews on tap and im­pec­ca­ble Scotch eggs, this is the pub you didn’t know you needed, but won’t be able to do with­out

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

KIRK’S: RE­VIEWED BY DAN STOCK

IF GAR­DEN State Ho­tel is Mel­bourne’s sharp-suited an­swer to a Syd­ney pub (any­thing you can do, we can do bet­ter) then Kirk’s is our per­fectly formed re­tort to a modern Bri­tish pub.

The new space is a de­light­fully diminu­tive tim­ber, tile and ter­razzo of­fer­ing that joins Kirk’s Wine Bar next door and French Saloon up­stairs. On the site of one of the CBD’S first pubs, Kirk’s com­pletes the trio of Ian Cur­ley/con Christopou­los/josh Bris­bane venues on this cor­ner of Hard­ware Lane with pork pies and pints.

And what a list of beers. The same minds that cre­ated the re­mark­able wine list next door have come up with some­thing just as good here. A line-up of lo­cals, in­clud­ing a sai­son from Exit Brew­ing in Dan­de­nong and Der­rimut’s Cav­a­lier pale ale, join Lon­don Pride and Czech Bud­var from the bar­rel. Brews by the bot­tle and can are more eclec­tic, with some­thing for the ca­sual sip­per and se­ri­ous beard-stro­ker alike (though at $16.50 for a long­neck of Mel­bourne Bit­ter, we’re not in Ab­bots­ford any­more).

So as not to rain on the wine bar’s pa­rade (though the blue­stone cel­lar here will be a winter win­ner), a se­lec­tion of three whites (Kirk’s dry white No.1, No.2, No.3) and reds keeps things sim­ple.

Like­wise, the menu is fo­cused on beer-friendly salty snacks, such as canned Span­ish fish, ter­rine, pork scratch­ings and my new crav­ing – the best Scotch egg in town. A hefty blan­ket of spiced mince sur­rounds the gold­en­cen­tred nugget to cre­ate a pro­tein ball that’s the bomb. It’s ac­com­pa­nied, rather strik­ingly, with a pickle, a daub of Di­jon and a checker­board nap­kin.

The croque monsieur is an­other can­di­date for best-in-class, where ham and bechamel nes­tle within airy, sweet white bread toasted to a but­tery crunch.

If the ques­tion is where to grab a beer and a bite, Kirk’s is the an­swer.

From top: the croque monsieur, plenty of lo­cal and im­ported beers on of­fer, and the Scotch egg dish.

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